Morning came, and Jack was over at breakfast with the rest of the Resistance, thus far consisting of only himself, Admiral Hans and Lord Farquaad, and two other individuals, identified as Professor Peabody and his apprentice – a red-haired boy named Sherman, sitting at his side. Gerda the housekeeper was busy managing the Inn while Kai, a man hired on as Chef, remained in the kitchen. Sir Muntz, the third member of the leader trio (Muntz, Farquaad and Hans) was absent as he had business to attend to at the Temple.
"Did you sleep well, Jack?" Farquaad asked from his plate full of sausage and potato hashes.
"Not all that well, I couldn't help but think of what the Princesses are going through."
Hans took a little handkerchief to wipe his lips, "It won't do you much good to worry, Jack. We will retrieve the Princesses, right now we need you to take the time to get ready for when we send you on your first mission." Hans turned to Peabody and Sherman, "I don't believe you and the Professor have been properly introduced."
Peabody extended his hand to Jack, "Peabody of the Academy of Theoretical Sciences, pleased to meet you, Master Frost."
Jack shook his hand in response, "Pleasure's all mine, Professor."
The young boy next to Jack, across from Peabody, also extended his hand, "I'm Sherman, right now I'm just studying with the Professor, but I hope to be able to follow after him."
Jack smiled back at him, "I'm sure you'll do great things of your own."
Hans cleared his throat, "All right, Jack, I suppose I could divulge today's plans for you. The Professor wished to see you later at his workshop across from here as part of your preparations. After that you're free to do whatever you wish until you feel ready, I know prison life, even for a few months, can wear out a person."
Jack nodded, "Thanks, Hans. But are you sure you don't want me to start working right away?"
Hans shook his head, "Much as I'd like to, Farquaad and I are still formulating a plan of action, Sir Muntz informed us that he's currently trying to find a means to get Mildew, the current Temple Hochmeister, out of power, as long as he maintains that position, Weselton holds sway over the religious party."
Jack departed the Poison Apple along with Peabody and Sherman and walked a little bit to an old metal works building. The Poison Apple and surrounding area was once part of the city's industrial quarter, but after the rat plague swept in, most of it was abandoned. Thankfully, this particular area was blockaded from most of the infestation, although it ended up losing business as a result of isolation from the rest of the city.
Since then, the Resistance has requisitioned the area for their own use, with Peabody taking over the old metal works as an improvised laboratory.
Inside Jack marveled at all the heavy-duty equipment and assorted lab instruments strewn about – on one table were vises, grindstones and assorted tools. On another were various laboratory glassware, tongs and tripods for holding them, along with samples of liquids and minerals here and about.
On the far side was a huge furnace and a few pieces of machinery, probably powered by whale oil, the poor man's fuel source.
"Please step this way, Jack, and we'll get started," Peabody directed him to a small platform, and ordered him to extend his arms outwards to the sides.
Work began in earnest when Peabody and Sherman began pulling tape measures and calipers on him and started jotting down numbers, measuring his face, limbs and torso. Once they were done, they told Jack that they were going to be busy fabricating new clothes and personalized equipment for him, as the Resistance's agent, tattered prison rags simply wouldn't do, although at the most, it would probably take three days, but promised to make haste with it before Hans needed him for his first mission.
After that Jack returned to his room, opened his window, and decided to spend the rest of the day conversing with his new friend: the soul of the Star of Chaos.
Hello Jack, decided to have some alone time to speak with me?
"Pretty much, can anyone else hear you?"
No, just you, and maybe the Lost Soul if he were here right now.
"Do you have a name?"
I'm afraid I'm not at liberty to tell you that yet, Jack, suddenly, a gust of wind blew into the room, But if you'd like, you may address me... as "Wind"
"Wind, eh? Okay, Wind, can you read my mind?"
"Really? I mean, speaking into my mind and being bound to me doesn't let you read it?"
I may only speak into your mind, and hear you speak in return when you call for me, but no, I cannot read your thoughts. The Lost Soul ensures that trust should not be an issue between host and soul.
"I see, well, I'm glad that's not an issue. Now then, he also said that with your help, I can control the powers of the Void?"
Yes, I act as a conduit with which you may summon and control the Void as you desire. Chaos magic is far more potent than what they teach over at the College of Magic.
"I had heard of it during my studies there. I heard that it's dangerous."
Only because those fools at the Academy and the College don't quite understand the steep prerequisites for its use.
"Can you show me a demonstration, Wind? Of the Void's power?"
There was a knock on his door, and he heard Gerda's voice call out, "Master Frost? The Admiral wishes to speak with you downstairs, do you have a moment?"
Looks like a demonstration will have to wait.
Jack met with Hans downstairs and found him sitting in front of the counter on one of the stools.
"Ah, Jack, you've arrived, I think you want to know why I had Gerda call you down here?"
"Well, yes, basically."
"Very well," He turned to a small box on the counter in front of him. He opened it, pulling out a light, baby blue glove, "I believe this may come in handy with you?"
It was a magic-woven glove, the kind given to graduates of the College of Magic after they finish their tenure. Jack had mastered Ice Magic and given a special glove to channel his magical affinity.
"I must admit, Jack, it was hard to retrieve these, but I figured you'd like to see your gloves recovered from confiscation."
Jack took it and fitted over his right hand, it felt good to have his old garment returned to its rightful owner.
"How did you find it?"
"I didn't, one of our field men did, his name's Flynn Rider; he can't join us for the moment, I sent him on a mission in Corona."
"Oh, all right." Jack clicked his fingers and summoned a short, curved staff from the magic fabric, twirling it about, "I'll have to remember to thank him later."
While everyone was about business elsewhere, Jack decided to practice his old and new mystic powers in a rundown section of the city, a place where no one dared to come.
Are you sure you wish to practice here, Frost?
"Why not, Wind? No one can see us, and I'd like to examine the capabilities of the Void."
Very well, what would you like to see first, Jack?
"Well, what would you recommend, Wind?"
Hmm... I think I have an idea. Do you see that building over there?
Jack peered over the street to a nearby building about a block and a half across from them, "Yes, I see it."
Jump towards it.
"But it's like two blocks across! I'd never make it, not even with my magical powers."
Jack, please, trust me.
He sighed, Wind sounded confident, but Jack wasn't sure if he could just take her word for it.
"You sure about this?"
Positive. She replied.
"All right, if you say so."
Jack braced his body like a professional sprinter, placing both hands on the ground in front of him, one foot furthest from his body, and another bent close towards it. A deep breath and a few puffs of controlled breathing, and he was off.
Jack built up as much speed as he could on the short span of the roof and leaped from the edge of the stone railing as far as he could towards the opposite roof.
As soon as Jack could feel himself faltering by several feet, he willed his ice magic to create a screen of ice right behind him. Using it as secondary footing, Jack pressed his feet against it and propelled himself slightly further, the other roof was within reach, if he could just...
Jack braced himself as he could feel his body drop to the hard concrete below, shutting his eyes closed. When he opened them again, he was a bit perplexed by what he bore witness to.
He was floating in midair, time itself paused all around them.
"What... what's going on?"
I have compelled the Void to redirect the flow of time around you, freezing you in place within this particular moment in time, it's but one of many gifts those chosen by the Void possess.
"Really impressive, Wind, I never would have guessed."
That's not all the Void may grant you. Jack, I want you to take your hand, the one bearing the Star, and extend it towards the ledge of the building; I want you to will the Void to carry you towards the ledge.
"Okay, whatever you say, Wind."
Jack reached out, still floating in thin air, time frozen all about him. Concentrating with just a modicum of effort, the Star began to glow a faint, pale glow, and in an instant, Jack instantaneously found himself teleported the short distance between the air and towards the ledge, deftly grabbing the edge and pulling himself up; time resumed its normal flow around Jack, as well.
"Now that was an interesting experience."
There's so much more I could show you, shall we proceed with more demonstrations?
The second day arrived and Jack decided to exercise in his room, rebuilding his strength for when he was set to deploy. While alone he got more acquainted with his new friend, Wind.
"So, Wind, do you have any idea who the assassins who killed the Queen might be?"
Not at all, Jack. I know about as much as you do about them.
"But they wield the same Void powers."
After giving it some thought, Jack realized they did utilize powers very similar to the ones he now possessed.
Jack, I should let you know there are other beings in the Void besides the Lost Soul who grants Void powers to certain individuals.
"Is that so?"
Yes, the Lost Soul prefers to keep to himself and simply observe the flow of events in the mortal world from within his solemn domain. Sometimes, such as yourself, he finds individuals whose purpose in the skein of history is not set, and he considers this a special criteria with which to bestow the gift of Chaos Magic. Be thankful he noticed you above all others, or you may not find yourself in the favorable conditions you have now.
"Didn't know you cared so much, Wind."
Friendship begins from caring for your partner, and it looks like we're going to spend a lot of time together, partner.
Evening had come over the Poison Apple, the sun shone over in bright oranges and yellows as the day was slowly descending to a close. Nearly everyone had a mind to get ready for dinner and then prepare for bed.
But Hans had just received exciting news and shared it with Jack, who eagerly waited near the pier, awaiting the arrival of a special someone who was successfully retrieved from Weselton's clutches.
Kristoff pulled up on the pier in his boat, carrying another passenger with him, her face obscured underneath a hood. As soon as they docked, Kristoff began lashing the rope to a post, the woman gently stepped onto the lumber of the pier. Jack approached her, a smile on his face and a sense of relief showering over him.
The woman threw her hood back, revealing strawberry-blonde hair and deep blue eyes.
"Jack!" Anna jumped to Jack and they shared a deep hug, "Where were you!? Elsa and I were so worried!"
Jack bent his head down, feeling a little ashamed about his absence, but it couldn't be helped, he was imprisoned with no means to escape, "I'm... sorry, Anna."
She rested a hand on his shoulder, "Hey, relax, I was only kidding..."
Jack smiled weakly, "Jeez, don't play me like that, Anna."
"But seriously, Jack... it's good to see you again, five months in isolation is just..."
"Something like that."
Hans bowed respectfully, "Your Highness, I know it must have been rough, but when I heard Kristoff rescued you from Weselton's grasp, I made preparations for your room," he turned to Kristoff, "Mister Bjorgman, if you would...?"
Kristoff bowed respectfully before turning to Frost and Anna, "Forgive me, Jack, but you wouldn't mind if I escort Anna to her room."
"Not at all, you rescued her, after all."
Anna gave Jack one final hug before following Kristoff to the Poison Apple. Hans and Jack stayed at the lower floors where Hans debriefed him on the situation as he gathered.
"It seems, Jack, that after Weselton received news of your escape, he ordered the Princesses separated in the hopes that maybe the chances of someone taking them from his grip would lessen. We're glad Mister Bjorgman found her when he did."
"How did he find her?"
"Kristoff has... connections in interesting places. Out of professional confidentiality, he can't specify his accomplices. To be honest I have some difficulty placing my trust in such a secretive individual."
"I think he's legitimate in helping us."
"You truly think so?"
"The fact he hasn't decided to take Anna captive for himself is evidence enough for me. Plus... let's just say I have an instinct." Said instinct was the same reason he trusted Johnny in prison.
Hans sighed, "I suppose you're right, Jack."
Later at dinner, Anna, Jack, and Kristoff were in a booth in the Tavern, enjoying dinner, Anna talked about what had happened in the time since Jack's imprisonment and the Princesses' disappearances. Apparently, after they alerted the guards to the situation, they were apprehended by a group of the same assassins a short while later.
"You should have seen it, Jack, me and Elsa didn't go down without a fight."
She described in detail how Elsa froze some of the hooligans in place as Anna plucked a weapon from a decorative suit of armor nearby and shattered them apart. Another assassin tried to come after them as they fled into Anna's room, closing the door just as their pursuer rammed into it, tearing the door down.
Anna grabbed a frying pan (Void knows why she keeps a frying pan in her room) and slammed the cooking instrument over the intruder's head.
They could have stood their ground longer when they both felt their wrists suddenly flung into the air by some invisible force, which Jack recalled from that mysterious assassin in black.
"After that, some creepy stranger came in, he was wearing a freaky skull mask with metal studs."
Hans suddenly appeared before them, holding a worn sheet of paper in his hands, "Perhaps I know the identity of this stranger," he placed the paper on the table top, and everyone turned to see a fairly detailed sketch of some hooded man wearing a mask.
"That's... that's him!" Anna exclaimed, wide-eyed over the details of the sketched mugshot.
Jack examined the paper and read over the details of the individual, "fifty thousand coin for information leading to the capture or death of... the Grimlaik?"
Hans cleared his throat before going into detail, "The Grimlaik was... or rather, is a highly dangerous and skilled assassin. Wanted in nearly every province of the Empire, he is a notorious mercenary hitman, alleged to possess supernatural powers."
Anna and Jack both knew that firsthand, but kept silent about it.
"What did you mean by, he 'was' a dangerous assassin?"
"The Grimlaik first appeared four years ago and was active for two years after, before suddenly disappearing without a trace. One can only speculate why he's returned now of all times." Hans explained.
Jack returned the paper before asking his next question, "Do you think it has something to do with Weselton's rise to power?"
Hans nodded, "Right now, it's the most likely theory. Whatever kind of connection they have, however, I haven't a clue."
The third day came and, just as expected, Sherman and Professor Peabody finished Jack's new outfit and gear, and requested he come to their shop to try it on.
"I'm sure you'll like what he have for you, Master Frost, You'll find it all right here in this side room. Sherman and I will leave you be while you peruse it as you see fit."
As the Professor closed the door behind him, Jack looked to a limbless mannequin standing by the center of the room.
(A/N: I know some people can't be bothered with clothing descriptions so you can skip this if you want.)
The mannequin was wearing a white dress shirt with a gray waistcoat, over that was a highly detailed indigo greatcoat with intricate webs of frost patterns along the back, sleeves, and lower half. The coat also came with a hood that concealed his face to an extent, and leggings which would hug his lower limbs, ending to a pair of toeless, heelless socks seamlessly integrated into the bottom; Jack smiled a little, Burgessians like him aren't very particular about shoes, the closest was the sock integrated into the legging to grant them full range of movement with their feet.
But perhaps the most unique aspect of the uniform was a strange mask; Jack pulled the hood down and plucked the mask from the mannequin's face, examining it in detail. His hand glided over the intricately carved white ceramic face; it's eyes were a pair of polished lenses carefully set within the inlays of the eyes. The lower lip, forming a line horizontal line across the cheek was forged from silver, the disconnect of porcelain and metal made it as though the mask would speak if it did.
(Description ends here)
Jack cast off his prison garb and started putting on the intricate uniform, sans the mask, calling the Professor and Sherman after he was done.
"Well, Master Frost, what do you think of me and my apprentice's handiwork?"
Jack strung his hands on the lapels of his coat, "Got to hand it to you, Professor, these are definitely better than prison garb."
Sherman picked up the mask Jack placed by the nearby table, "So, Mister Frost, how did you like the work I did on the mask?"
Jack looked down at Sherman, "You made this mask?"
Peabody nodded, "Yes, Sherman is quite handy when it comes to craftsmanship with ceramics and metals."
Jack flipped the mask and saw intricate frames of skeletal devices and gears holding the lenses in place.
"The lenses are a special feature I included," the little boy said with pride, "I'm guessing you'll be operating in places with irregular lighting, the lenses are designed to help focus light so it doesn't strain your eyes too much."
Jack took the fancy mask and fitted it onto himself, the metal framework fastening to the edges of his face. Jack noted the distorted view of the lenses and gave it back to Sherman.
"Sorry about that, Jack, the lenses need a little tweaking," Sherman produced a screwdriver and started fiddling with the mask, "There... try it now."
Jack again fitted the mask to his face, this time the lenses didn't disrupt his sight like last time, and gave him a clear view of his surroundings.
"Got to hand it to you guys, you're geniuses."
Peabody did a bow, "Naturally, certainly better than that Robinson fellow from the Academy."
Just then, Gerda strolled into the room.
"Excuse me, gentleman, but Hans needs Jack Frost for the moment."
"Tell him I'll be there in a bit, Gerda."
Jack went over other devices that he figured would help Jack, including a specially wrist-mounted crossbow, tranquilizer darts, a custom-made pistol featuring a revolutionary revolving chamber mechanism (which was certainly better than the muzzle-loaded variety that everyone currently possessed) and a bandolier of a special electronic stunning devices that he came up with.
Jack felt like he was ready for war, though one could argue that he was...
(Later that night)
Jack returned to the pier where Kristoff was waiting for him in his skiff.
Jack received the details for his first mission. Sir Muntz, the Resistance's representative of the religious party, was apprehended for spying in Hochmeister Mildew's office, now he was being held in a gibbet cage at the Central Square awaiting public execution for espionage. Jack's current objective was to rescue Muntz and find out what he knows about Mildew.
Behind him stood Hans, Farquaad and Princess Anna, "So... are you sure you're ready, Jack?"
He nodded, "Positive."
Farquaad pointed to his little pocket watch, "Sir Muntz doesn't have much time before he's executed, so time is of the essence, Jack."
Jack boarded but right before they left, he turned back to Anna, "Don't worry, Anna, I will find Elsa eventually and bring her back safe and sound."
She smiled weakly, "I have no doubt you will, Jack."
Casting off, Jack and Kristoff left the pier just as Anna whispered something in their direction, "Good luck, you two."
More of a filler to get my creative juices flowing and throw some backstory there, hope none of you mind, I'm still coming up with an idea how to write the High Overseer mission in the written word.
Questions, comments, suggestions and the like are welcome, and as always, thanks for reading.
PS: If anyone is interested in making illustrations for this story, I'd really appreciate it if it got spread around to those who like it enough, thanks.